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Execution of a woman in the presence of her seven sons

When a woman murders her husband and is sentenced to death penalty it is an ordinary story that occurs everywhere and every now and then. But when her family and family-in-law become opponents and decide to avenge, tragedy begins. It reaches the peak when her sons refuse to pardon or spare her life. Instead, one of them, the elder one, in his twentieth, attended the execution, while the bullets penetrated his mother's skinny fragile body, without batting an eyelid, whereas the rest preferred to stay at the prison's premises not far from the execution yard.

This unfortunate woman faced death twice; the worst was when her sons punished her for murdering their father whom she accused of being an abusive to his family.

This story kept me awake for several nights and till now I couldn't get rid of it. How could a son whose mother looked after him during childhood and adolescence, turn into a stone who handed her over to justice and couldn't care about her last motherly request of hugging them.

It seems when man enslaved by his environment, whatsoever its norms and traditions, he loses ability to think or evaluate, or judge properly, pushing himself to the edge where his humanity falls apart. This is a story of multiple interwoven and complicated issues

Read this shocking incident which took place in Yemen and try to find out why this miserable incident come to a dead point؟

A large number of Arab newspapers and websites covered this story last month. Here is a summary:

A Yemeni court executed last week a 40-year- old woman for murdering her husband after a family dispute.
According to witnesses, Aisha-Hazmi, whose seven sons who were brought to the courtyard of the central prison, where execution was carried out, rejected her call for them to pardon her and help in her release. It was sufficient that one of them opposed the judgment or pardoned her to save her life.

Sources stated Hamza wanted to embrace them, but they pushed her away, turned their backs on her and insisted on the death sentence. Despite mediation attempts made by prosecutors, tribal leaders and human rights organizations tried to persuade them to pardon their mother, but they rejected their request on the grounds that their mother abused their reputation when she told media organs and human rights activists that she murdered their father because she believed he was abusive and cruel to them.

Aisha's execution was attended by two of her elder sons while the gun shots penetrated her body; the rest , including an 8 year –old daughter, preferred to stay in a car out of the courtyard, putting their fingers in their ears so as not to hear the shots putting.

Aisha-Hazmi had killed her husband, Yahya Sharif, in 2003 following a family dispute, and she was submitted to the prison on behalf of Armani, a province South-east of the capital Sanaa, where her two families intended to avenge the killing of Aisha's husband. Before doing so they consulted a judge who denounced the decision and handed her over to prosecution.


Maria de Chirikof's picture


This is so shocking that I have no idea what to say! It is hard to imagine it really happening somehow! It is hard to say what I feel most strongly about it all. I can almost understand the desire for revenge/avenge a death when it is a case of cold blooded murder but this does not sound like that kind of thing at all. It sounds like the lady got pushed to a corner where she felt she had no choice but to fight back. That kind of thing does need to be taken into consideration, no matter if male or female, since it provides the reasons or motive for the killing. Sometimes it is true that a person has no choice but to fight back like this. It is too bad no one helped her before it got this far! It is one reason I try to raise awareness about this type of abusive situation and encourage the woman to seek help. It is hard though when they feel there is no help and this is the result of it.

The poor woman though whose sons turned their back on her like that, it makes me want to cry for her. We really need to bring Compassion back into the world. It is why I love this site since in our own little way we are doing it. By caring and sharing together we can help change the mood in the hearts of people that is so desperately needed. I feel for those older sons caught in this cycle, too. I can imagine some day down the road it will come back to haunt them that they did not offer their mother that last hug of comfort. We need to hope that day comes soon so that whole family can heal! Imagine losing both your parents like that!

I am confused by the part where it says the judge denounced their decision and handed her over to prosecution. Does that mean she had a trial and was found guilty or just that the officials would do it instead of the family?

Thank you for posting this! It is not the kind I enjoy reading but do feel it is important to help raise awareness of things happening so we can change them. It sometimes seems there is so much sadness in the world but then we come here and meet the amazing woman around the world who care and are working to change it and Hope is restored and renewed once more.


Hi Maria,

This story traumatizes me. It seems that Aisha's life was a series of tragedies.

Newspapers and websites mentioned Aisha murdered her husband because of his continuous attempts to rape his daughter, a matter that confirmed by the daughter and her grandmother during the case process. (Arab liberal net.)

According to media organs, the court sentenced Hamza to death in 2003 and the judgment was endorsed by the Court of Appeal in 2007. She was imprisoned for six years before the execution.

Unfortunately, Aisha's sons and families were in favor of killing her according to revenge tribal laws in similar case, when they saw to ask a judge on the legality of the action. The judge condemned their decision and handed her over to the prosecutor. The court that judged her, has been lately severely criticized and accused of lack of conformity to standards of law. Moreover, absence of Aisha's lawyer from most of the hearing sessions especially the sentence hearing aggravated her situation.

As far as I know, In Yemen, particularly in rural areas, it is appreciated that relatives of the slain avenge his killing at the same moment. This is normally done to maintain their image among other tribes. This may explain to you why her family attempted to kill her.

Lately I have a long discussion with a Yemeni friend who told me many astonishing facts about that society. He told me that there is a new social trend in construction. Blood relation(s) tends to hand a suspect over to the court, in order to avoid a blood feud vicious cycle. Paradoxically at trial times they surround the court building and wait. If it sets him/her free, they will have an excuse to enforce their own tribal punishment. By doing so, they seek to save their lives and properties series of mutual tribal revenges.
Normally in such cases blood relations don’t' appreciate accept blood money. Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. That is the SACRED RULE.

Consider her short life. She was imprisoned when she was 34 killed at (40). During her life she gave birth to 7 sons. If you compare her age with that of her elder son who is a university student and he is above twenty three, you discover that she had been subject to an early, if not imposed, marriage.

Not only that, it seems that she had also been condemned twice: first because of the crime because she spoke out to media organs, human rights activists, she was desperate, knew what was waiting for her she broke silence and talked. Or simply she was delivering a message to her sons, family and tribe, seeking protection from the government, regional and international communities.

Despite the severe impact of this tragedy, Hamza's attempts to make her voice heard, delivered message and shed light on the situation of women in her own country and in developing countries...


Simply in such cases divorce isn't an easy affair. Do you know why? It is not even appreciated and it has a strong relation with the economical situation of women.. Who would accept, in such societies, to shelter and accommodate a woman burdened with seven children; especially if she is not educated or qualified or has a source of an independent living. NO BODY.

However, this incident pushed me to seek more information of the situation of women in Yemen and (around) me. This woman has been condemned twice: first because of the crime she committed. Second it she was subject to early, if not imposed, marriage. Taking into account ages of her sons (from 24-8 year-old), she was imprisoned when she was only 34 year-old and executed when she was forty, that indicates she was married when she was still a child. She lived in a cycle of pregnancy, birth and breast feeding and vice versa. Her body was just like a factory working at full capacity.

aliĝngix's picture


My....I can understand an 8-year old not being confidant enough to not challenge her family, but a 20 year old man, as you said? It's incomprehensible that people--WOMAN--are still being treated like this... Hmm...Woman are still treated as infidels no matter what they do...I guess tradition and LAW should change to benefit all people

I guess we just need to remeber that the woman still there and continue to gain rights for them.. I hope I wasn't too emotional or "has-all-been-said-before". Thank you for sharing your story.

Hi aligngix,

Thank you for sharing your emotions.I agree with you, women should stand up and fight for their rights.

Best regards

Oluwatoyin Ajao's picture

So sad

When I advocate for people leaving a complicated relationship or marriage, some folks in my country feel I am too much in support of divorce. It's really to avoid issues like this one. Well, the woman being from Arabic country, I doubt if she has a right to divorce her husband in the first place. Like Maria said, she could have being pushed into a corner. I just wish no one will have to wait for that to happen.

Who knows, her sons may not even like their mother due to thier upbringing or their cultural beliefs or what they have witnessed at home. Since I can't say for sure what actually happened in thier home, may be the sons thought their father didnt deserve to die like that and did not give a care in the world how the law deals with their mother hence their behaviour.

This is trully sad and I am feeling so sad right now. I just wish we will not wait till we are pushed to the wall and put our lives in the hands of the law. It can get nasty. And it's so sad when I see a woman that laboured to bring 8 kids to the world end like that.

May her soul rest in peace.

Toyin Ajao

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Cultural beliefs

Actually I did my best to collect information from different sources. Most of them referred to a father's perverse behavior towards his daughter. This may give an explanation for the mother's violent bloody reaction especially she learn well the consequences of her actions and their effects on her life and family. What astonishes me most she isn't an intruder to the respective society..but she did it.. she killed him and die.

(Who knows, her sons may not even like their mother due to their upbringing or their cultural beliefs or what they have witnessed at home.)
I absolutely agree with you in your above quotation. But to be cruel to a degree they refuse to give her the last hug she requested and witnessed last moments of her agony? This I can't support or understand.

Kind regards

Oluwatoyin Ajao's picture

I agree

I understand your point of view and I don't think I can understand or support such cruelty myself. I just sighted the point to express what I felt might have contributed to thier attitude. I live in a society where a lot of people who have being betrayed or have gone through hardship suddenly feel no compassion for others at all. It's wrong and sad.

Toyin Ajao



This your account is pathetic, but again remeber there is always retribution - 'Kill by the sword die by the sword', she was unforgiven to the extent of killing the husband and it happened to her too.
But she needed forgivness from he children and she died unforgiven despite her pleas, than was wrong on the part of the children.
Thanks and all the best.
By the way congrat for your selection as one of the Correspondents for VOF.

Kind Regards

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Recover denied honor


Many thanks for your congrats.I didn't tell you before that you are among my favored writers. I find a great pleasure in reading your assignments and articles and hope one day to have a half of your clear vision, neatness, professionalism and activeness.

'Kill by the sword die by the sword',


This the situation in Yemen and many other developing countries, especially in rural areas. Kill whatever/whoever of my tribe, I whatever/whoever of yours; regardless of the outcome of that. I think ِAisha's sons are victims of their society and the hostile environment in which they lived following the assassination of their father. They might have been sure if they forgave her, their tribe wouldn't and thus find themselves entangled in a vicious cycle of blood and loss.

According to that norm and following the tragic death of their father, they supposed to immediately turned into the mother's first rank opponents (if not enemies) and shouldered the retaliation for the killing of their father and recover tribally their denied honor even if the wrongdoer was once their beloved mom.

May Allah forgives her and rest her soul in peace.


Deeply Touched

Hi Halima Mohamed,
Thanks a million for i'm deeply touched by your positive comment.
No one knows it all, for we learn everyday.
I will love us to be in touch.

Kind Regards

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

My email

Sister Cecile,

"I will love us to be in touch".

Please let's keep in touch. NOW.

Warm Regards,


busayo's picture

It is shocking

the fact that the in-law wanted revenge is understandable because that is part of the ordeals of women in Africa. The one i found shocking and found very hard to believe is her children who sucked her breast turning their back on her like that.This is showing us the extent of work ahead of us as mothers on the orientation of our sons, I am sure one of the reasons they behaved like that was because they see themselves as potential men who could also abuse their wives and would not want to be killed by her and so they are ready to make their mother a scape goat.God help WOMEN OOO!!!.
I hope she turned to God for forgiveness before she died
Congrat for your selection as one of the correspondents for VOF

May her soul rest in piece


Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Real vivtims

Hi Busayo,

Thank you so much for your congrats.
The first time I read the story published Arabic newspapers, I was totally against the victim's children. Gradually, and with the help of some people knowledgeable about society norms there, I gradually got to understand the miserable situation in which these children were pushed.
Their mother had killed their father and by doing so she turned into the number one enemy form whom they must retribute and revenge for the father's killing.


At the end Aisha (that was her name) was going to die either by her own children or the husband's tribe. This may explain why her families at the beginning didn't resort to immediate retaliation and handed her over to the court.
In this very situation who are the real victims? Mother? Children?
May Allah forgive all of them.

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